|The Blue Knight|
|Based on||The Blue Knight|
by Joseph Wambaugh
|Written by||E. Jack Newman|
|Directed by||Robert Butler|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||4|
|Production location(s)||Los Angeles|
Samuel E. Beetley
Gene Fowler Jr.
|Running time||100 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original release||November 11 -|
November 14, 1973
|Followed by||The Blue Knight (TV series)|
The Blue Knight is a 1973 made-for-TV film based on Joseph Wambaugh's 1973 novel The Blue Knight. It gave rise to the 1975 TV series also named The Blue Knight. It ran originally on NBC TV in November 1973, was directed by Robert Butler, and starred an all star cast headed by William Holden as Police Officer Bumper Morgan. The additional cast includes Lee Remick, Anne Archer, Sam Elliott, Joe Santos, and Vic Tayback. The film was a four-hour series.
Bumper Morgan is a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department who is scheduled to retire in a week. Before he leaves, he must work on the murder of a prostitute in one of LA's far corners. Along the way, he must grapple with vicious thugs, his fellow officers who feel mixed about his retiring, and his woman who wants him to leave the streets.
Holden said he was surprised to be cast as Morgan, as he thought Ernest Borgnine or Rod Steiger would have been preferred. Shooting took seven weeks.The Blue Knight was filmed as a four-episode miniseries of 100 minutes each for the US market and a 100-minute theatrical film for European markets. It was one of the first miniseries on American television.
The episodes were broadcast on four consecutive evenings, beginning on November 11, 1973. It received positive reviews. Jay Sharbutt of the Associated Press praised the miniseries' realism and wrote that readers "ought to catch this show". Rick Du Brow of United Press International wrote that the miniseries' length allows it to unfold slowly and create a "cohesive dramatic atmosphere", unlike typical TV shows.Time Out London, in a retrospective review of the theatrical cut, called it "seminal stuff" and wrote that it is more interesting for its influence on following police dramas than its story.
Emmys went to William Holden (in his first TV film role), director Robert Butler, and editors Marjorie and Gene Fowler Jr. Lee Remick received an Emmy nomination. The show was also nominated for Outstanding Limited Series.